Iraq PM accepts resignation of lead corruption watchdog

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[JURIST] Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [official website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive] on Saturday accepted the resignation [press release, in Arabic] of the country’s lead corruption watchdog, Raheem Uqaili. Uqaili was the chairman of Iraq’s Integrity Commission [official website, in Arabic], an independent corruption monitoring agency that investigates officials from the Defense Ministry and other government agencies. Uqaili supporters say political conflict prevented him from taking on key cases [LA Times report], while critics claim Uqaili was ineffective.

Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, the former chief of the Integrity Commission, has accused the Iraqi government of protecting corrupt employees and attempting to influence the commission [JURIST report]. He resigned from the commission in September 2007 while on official business in the United States, citing the increase in death threats against him and his family, though there have also been corruption allegations against al-Radhi [JURIST report]. In 2007, Maliki ordered that his approval must be obtained [JURIST report] before any government minister or official from the president’s office be charged with corruption, according to the chair of the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform [official website]. Despite Maliki’s plans to fight corruption [JURIST report] announced in May 2006, Iraq ranked as one of the world’s most corrupt nations [JURIST report] according to the 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) [text; press release] prepared by Transparency International (TI) [advocacy website].

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